Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Meringues and a birthday: Meringue cookies, meringue candied almonds and tiramisu cupcakes

Last summer I remember how mild severe weather seemed. In Kansas, you can always expect some rockin' thunderstorms and a few tornadoes in the spring. Well, we are definitely getting paid back for it this year. I know everyone's heard about the tornadoes in Joplin, which are just a huge tragedy. We had tornado warnings around here about that time, which freaked me out a little bit, but they went south. The mark of a true Kansan: watching the storm coming (the lightning was cool!).

But the tornado experience I got this year I've never had before was having to go into shelter at work. I was in downtown KC when our publisher made us go down to the parking garage. Later, the whole building was told via loudspeaker to take shelter. There were multiple funnel clouds around and a couple actually touched down in the metro area. We were downstairs for more than an hour, and the long-time employees didn't remember that ever happening before. Naturally, it happens to me in my first week!

In my never-ending quest to find food I can munch on at work (so I don't spend a million dollars at the food quart), one of the options I came up with were these candied almonds. I've made something similar to them before, but this new recipe used meringue, which is quickly becoming one of my favorite things. Too bad it's a pain in the ass to make in rainy weather, which we seem to have an interminable supply of lately. Anyway, these almonds are super tasty and easy to make. Will probably do again.

Meringue No. 2 for this week: meringue kisses. I've also made a variation of these before, a peppermint sandwich version for Christmastime. I really like how cute the little cookies are, and I pipe them, which I like doing too. These are all three different flavors: the orange ones are orange creme, the green are lime and the pink are tutti fruiti. The basking recipe is from Joy of Cooking. To be honest, the only decent ones were the orange creme, which I want to make again. The other two tasted like cough syrup. Lesson learned: stick with sweeter flavors and less citrus with meringues.

Most of my friends know they all get a free pass — for your birthday I will bake you whatever you please (so if you didn't know this, here's your warning!). Last weekend was my friend Brianne's birthday. Back when my friends and I had the time (and the same days off) to do dinner parties, she requested a tiramisu cake. So it was only fitting that for her birthday I make her these tiramisu cupcakes. I've also made these before, but I remember them being significantly more difficult. Guess I wasn't as experienced then. Even Joe, who's anti-coffee flavor, ate at least part of one. Paired with some sake bombs, these were a fun birthday treat! (P.S. - Posting them on Hoosier Homemade's Cupcake Tuesday!)

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